Forms of Support

Fact - a verifiable statement.

The atomic bomb was first used as a weapon of war in 1945.

Incident - a true story, a series of actions that have taken place. Several summaries of incidents or a single extended incident may be used to support a topic sentence.

I ran in the direction of Jem's scream and sank into a flabby male stomach. Its owners said, "UFF!" and tried to catch my arms, but they were tightly pinioned. His stomach was soft, but his arms were like steel. He squeezed the breath out of me. I could not move. Suddenly he was jerked backwards and flung on the ground, almost carrying me with him. I thought, Jem's up.

Direct Quote - another person's words, stated exactly and set off by quotation marks. The source of the quote must be stated in the paragraph.

A little late Sue told me, "You really didn't have to give in to Sally. She would have eventually given up the argument."

Indirect Quote- another person's words but not the exact words and no quotation marks are used. The source of the quote must be stated in the paragraph.

Jim often told me that the answers are there if I could only open my eyes.

Hypothetical Example - A support that is made up to explain or clarify an idea; this is often used in conjunction with other forms of support.

Suppose everyone reading this paper survived another year of English class. Perhaps some knowledge of writing just might rub off.

Comparison - points out differences of two things, people, places or etc.

Both teachers expect every student to be on time, and they give detentions to those who are tardy more than three times.

Contrast - points out differences of two things, people, places, or etc.

Bill spent his free hours tinkering with radios while Jack was always on the baseball diamond or the ice-hockey rink.

Statistics - a collection of numerical facts arranged to indicate comparison or contrast between two or more items.

Seven out of ten people in this room will some day find a proper mate and marry.

Anecdote - a short narrative which appeals to human interest and may be of a serious or humorous nature or may appeal to the curiosity of the audience.

A pretty secretary brought a paternity suit against her boss. After all arguments had been heard by the judge in court, the judge reached into his pocket, pulled out a cigar and handed it to the defendant saying, "Congratulations, you have just become a father."